French policeman pulls Chris Froome off of bike at Tour de France


Instead, team CEO Iwan Spekenbrink says they approach this year's race as another opportunity to learn the race's intricacies to one day mount an all-out assault for the yellow jersey.

"It's fantastic. I'm really happy", added Alaphilippe, who also had some kind words for teammate Philippe Gilbert.

Froome is attempting to match the Tour record of five victories shared by Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain. But he was flying downhill, and eventually I got dropped on a straight part just because he was on his tube and full in the slipstream of the motorbike, " Dumoulin said.

"This isn't how I wanted to finish my Tour and leaving it like this really hurts".

Team Sky have said that Thomas and Froome will not race against each other, but the four-times champion is a far better descender than the yellow jersey holder.

Thomas leads the Tour de France, while Froome sits in third place. In his daily press conferences there have been questions relating to spectator behavior, the expulsion of Gianni Moscon, and the leadership dynamic with Froome.

"Every day there are always little details we can improve", Spekenbrink said of this Tour.

"I went through some hard moments in the first part of this Tour and lost some time", said Quintana, who is fifth overall. 'But I still felt strong and had the energy to finish the race on a high'.

Britain's Geraint Thomas, of Team Sky, finished close behind to tighten his grip on the yellow jersey three days before the 21st and final stage in Paris.

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Demare said he was motivated by an accusation on social media from Andre Greipel, a top German sprinter, who alleged that Demare held on to his team vehicle on the way up the grueling Col de Portet in Stage 17.

Froome has work to do this weekend if he is to take a place on the podium, however, after Roglic moved into third with a brilliant finish.

Tour organisers introduced innovation with the top 20 placed riders, much like in Moto GP, starting on a grid according to their times in the general classification.

It was also the first time French riders finished one-two in a Tour sprint since 1978, when Jacques Esclassan finished ahead of Yvon Bertin in Saint-Amand-les-Eaux.

Froome, whose day went from bad to worse when he was accidentally knocked off his bike by a policeman at the end of the stage, admitted it had been "very intense". Falls were always a danger, and unfortunately Peter Sagan took a hard one on the descent - he could remount and finish but battered and bruised.

Tangert was alone in the lead until halfway up the Col du Portet, when Quintana caught him and surged ahead.

The incident comes a day after police used tear gas to disperse a farmers' protest that had blocked the road with bales of hay.

After many of his competitors were unable to get through the mountains, Demare took advantage by dominating a mass sprint in Stage 18. Hence Thomas may need to gain more time on him on Friday to secure a comfortable buffer going into Saturday's "race of truth" and ensure his ride to Paris on Sunday's finish is as the Tour victor.